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Should I post more than one HAVE or WANT?

Absolutely. While you have to post at least one item you HAVE and may want to trade, the more HAVES you post, the more offers you are likely to receive. Posting doesn’t commit you to anything.

What should I do if I don’t know what I WANT?

You do not have to identify a specific item you WANT to start trading, but unless you post a WANT and link it to a HAVE, the BarterQuest Matching engine cannot do its job by automatically matching you with users who HAVE what you WANT and WANT what you HAVE. If you are uncertain as to what you may WANT in return for an item you HAVE, we suggest that you describe your WANTS in more general terms or post several alternatives. The more WANTS you post, the more likely that BarterQuest will automatically provide you with trading alternatives that match your trading preferences. And unless you post WANTS, other users will have no guidance as to what items may be of interest to you. Posting a WANT doesn’t cost you anything and doesn’t commit you to anything.

Can I trade even if there is no Match?

Yes. The BarterQuest Matching engine is intended only to make your trading easier. Think of it as a tool to help you quickly navigate many trading alternatives to find the ones that match both your HAVE and your WANT. You can always make an offer to trade with another user if you have identified an item they HAVE as one that you would like. You can browse through the site and use keywords to Search for the HAVES and WANTS of other users, make offers, and enter into trades.

Can I make more than one offer at a time?

You can make multiple offers involving the same item. In fact, we encourage you to make as many offers as make sense to you as possible trades. The more offers you make, the more likely you will successfully trade. An offer doesn’t cost you anything and doesn’t commit you to anything.

What can I do if my offer is declined?

You can change your offer by changing the item that you are offering to trade or by adding items to your offer. You can use Q&A to determine why your offer was declined and negotiate with your potential trading partner. Or you can seek the item you want with a different trading partner. Or you can simply let some time pass and try again (after all, people change their minds)

If my offer is Accepted, can I still change my mind?

A trade consists of an offer, the Acceptance of the offer, and a Confirmation of the trade by the user who first made the offer. You are not committed to a trade that you initiated until you have Confirmed the trade.

Can I change my mind after I have Accepted an offer?

When you Accept an offer you have committed yourself to the trade, pending only the Confirmation of the trade by your trading partner. Your item remains exclusively available for the trade for the greater of 72 hours or until the trade has been Confirmed.

Why did my Acceptance turn into an offer?

If, instead of Confirming the trade, your potential trading partner Accepts another offer, your Acceptance will convert to an outstanding offer for your original trade. This is to allow for the possibility that the other trade will not be Confirmed. In this case both users automatically continue as parties to an active trade, your outstanding offer can be Accepted, and you can then Confirm your original trade.

How and when can I communicate with my trading partner?

Through Q&A you can ask questions at any time about an item that is available for trade. When answered, both your questions and their answers will become public unless you have opted for private communications. This is to assure that all users have the same information about a trading opportunity and one or the other user is not advantaged or disadvantaged because of special knowledge not known to all. The more perfect the information, the more rational the market. Nevertheless, you can decide to communicate privately, and certain communications should by their nature be private, such as questions and answers that relate directly to the profile of other users, their references (particularly in the case of trades involving services or real estate), and to shipping or delivery.

How is a MultiParty trade different from a two party trade?

From your perspective as a trader the difference is not very significant between a two party trade and a MultiParty trade between you and two or more trading partners. The BarterQuest Matching engine facilitates multi-party trades in order to increase both the probability and quality of attractive trading alternatives. The most significant differences are that (1) in a MultiParty trade you will receive the item you want from one trading partner and send your item to another (remember, a multi-party trade consists of several users who “close a loop,” that is, I have what you want, you have what another user wants, and that user has what I want), and (2) a MultiParty trade is essentially an “as is” opportunity to Accept an exchange of items (the Confirmation of a MultiParty trade requires that all of the parties Accept within the same 72 hour period).

What can I do if the item for which I traded is not what I expected or is not delivered on a timely basis?

You can and should contact your trading partner directly. At the same time, you should communicate your problem to BarterQuest so that we can determine whether your trading partner has violated our Terms of Use and should be sanctioned. Finally, you should detail any negative trading experience in your Feedback on the trade.

Should I visit the BarterQuest site even if no immediate action is required?

Absolutely. First and foremost, the HAVES and WANTS of users will be constantly changing and new trading opportunities will become available. As importantly, you must update the availability of each item that you HAVE to trade or the item will be removed from your post. And items that have been updated more recently will be more attractive to potential trading partners, who will have that much greater confidence that your item continues to be “in play.”

Are there any items I cannot trade on BarterQuest?

Yes. A description of prohibited items can be found in our Terms of Use, both explicitly and by general description. Please use your common sense.

What will I be charged?

Trading on our site is FREE for most categories. Small fees are charged for a few categories. For a full overview of fees see the User’s guide or click here.

You will be charged a one time verification fee before you can actively trade on our site. There are also fees related to the transfer or redemption of points, our non-cash exchange currency. Fees details.

Why verify?

Verification is a one time procedure; verify once and forever. Your verification will provide other users with greater confidence that you are who you say you are and they will get what they bargained for. You must be verified to use points.

When should I use points?

Points are a non-cash exchange currency issued by BarterQuest. The principal use of points is to equalize the value of a trade, for example, my item plus 10 points for your item. Consequently, points are best utilized when the parties believe that there is a significant difference in the value of the items to be traded. Points are not meant to substitute for your judgment that a trade is generally fair, that is, that you are getting something of equal or greater value to you than the item you are trading. If you try to be too precise in your valuation, your opportunities to trade can and probably will seriously diminish. This being said, points can represent a material portion of the total value of what you are offering or what you will receive (you can, in fact, offer points alone to acquire items posted on our site). As is the case with any offer, the owner of the item is never obligated to accept points as part of or in lieu of a trade.

What is Secure Payment?

Secure Payment is intended to provide you with greater assurance that if you use points in a trade (or alone for the acquisition of an item), you will not lose the points if you don’t get what you bargained for. It is a form of escrow, pending the satisfactory completion of the trade. Your trading partner will not be able to use the points in another trade or redeem the points for a period of 14 days following (1) the confirmation of a trade involving goods, (2) the completion date for services, or (3) the first occupancy date for real estate, unless you have decided to release the points earlier. If you dispute the trade during this period, the points will not be released to your trading partner until the dispute is resolved.

Do I decide how many points I want to charge for an item?

Users decide how many points they want to charge for their item during the ‘POST’. The ‘Estimated Value’ (in US$) and will be shown as ‘points’ on the site.

What are the tax implications of bartering?

We cannot and do not make any representations as to the tax consequences to users of their completed trades. The user is solely responsible and should not rely on BarterQuest to report their trading activity to the extent required by tax or other laws and for the payment of any and all taxes (including, if applicable, income taxes and/or sales and use taxes) that may arise as the result of a trade.

This being said, we can offer some general observations regarding barter and taxes. From the perspective of BarterQuest’s users, the IRS considers a barter transaction the equivalent of a buy and sell transaction. The IRS measures bartered exchanges by using the market price of the goods or services someone receives. In a trade, both parties have to list the market value of what they received as taxable income. Sales taxes may also be payable if the transaction is between trading partners located in the same state (the law is currently in flux regarding the collection of sales taxes on Internet based transactions).

From the perspective of BarterQuest as a “bartering exchange,” the issue is one of reporting, not direct liability for tax payments. Barter exchanges are required to file Form 1099-B for all transactions unless (1) there are fewer than 100 exchanges during the year, (2) for exempt foreign persons, or (3) for property or services with a fair market value of less than $1.00. Our current assumption is that BarterQuest will be required to file Forms 1099, but we are not yet doing so. In this regard, it should be noted that, to the best of our knowledge, eBay has apparently taken the position that as a facilitator it will not file Forms 1099 because it cannot know what if any money has actually been paid in its auctions/direct sales. Arguably, BarterQuest is in the same (or, in a sense, better) position. There were proposals in 2007 by the Bush administration to the effect that intermediaries (such as Internet platforms) should be required to collect taxpayer identification numbers and report “sales” of personal property to the IRS on Forms 1099 if sales surpass 100 transactions or more than $5,000 annually. This suggests that in the longer term a compromise may be negotiated that codifies the reporting requirements for Internet platforms such as eBay and BarterQuest and limits their reporting requirements by the value of the underlying transactions and/or their frequency.

To further complicate matters, starting in 2011 it is expected that providers such as PayPal will be required to file Forms 1099 for money transfers over $20,000 or when there are more than 200 money transfers annually. The analogy for BarterQuest would involve the transfer of points, our on site currency.

Regardless, the real takeaway should be this: (1) while there may be no tax advantage for bartering (and, in fact, there may be advantages in situations such as “like kind” exchanges), there is no significant disadvantage, (2), as compared to buy and sell transactions, the all in transaction costs associated with barter, including taxes, can be and often are less, and (3) consumers who barter are not driven as much by a perceived tax advantage (rightly or wrongly) as by the fact that barter conserves their cash, is a way to obtain value for their “excess inventory,” and is inherently more social. And, not incidentally, it’s green.

More questions? Contact us!